'Petal to the Metal' Wall Hanging
Sarah Whatley recycles computer keyboard parts and assorted items to create this extraordinary 'Petal to the Metal' flower.
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Sarah Whatley has always been a pack rat and has always loved making crafts, so it was only natural that she was inclined to create art out of junk. With her artistic experience from designing retail displays and interior design, she began to use parts from old computers and other assorted electronics to create functional and decorative items. When she is not crafting, she is performing in her rock band around Houston with her husband, or tending to her three cats.
Materials and Tools:
spray primer and paint
round tipped hammers
hand drill with a metal bit
1. Locate an 18-wheeler hubcap that has a fish eye lens effect for the center of the flower. These are available at truck stops.
2. Mark hole placement with an awl about two inches apart. Drill holes around the edge of the hubcap using a hand drill with a metal bit.
3. Smooth out any jagged edges left by the drill with a metal filing tool.
4. Cut petals out of sheet metal using tin snips. Cut the petals freehand to form varied petals and to give them character. Wear leather gloves to protect your hands from the metal's sharp edges. Cut 10 petals (figure A).
6. Hold a petal in one hand while pounding it with a round tipped hammer until it’s the desired form and texture. Repeat with the remaining petals (figure C).
7. Prime each petal using a basic metal primer spray paint. Wear gloves and a mask and apply in a well-ventilated area. Allow petals to dry for about an hour.
8. Apply a base coat of paint. Use assorted bright colors of spray paints so that the colors complement the accent colors and objects used to embellish the flower. Let the base coat dry overnight (figure D).
9. Make templates for the accent colors. Lay out a sheet of wax paper larger than the size of a petal. Draw shapes on it such as circles, and then cut out the shapes with a craft knife until a pattern emerges (figure E).
10. Place the template on a completely dry, base-coated petal and secure it with small magnets.
11. Spray the accent color directly over the template with short controlled bursts. Let dry to the touch.
12. Remove the magnets and peel away the used template to reveal the accent pattern. If there are slight imperfections in the paint job, add character by using paint pens to "fix" these areas (figure F). Let the paint dry for an hour or so.
13. The real fun begins by adding all the details. Take apart some old computer keyboards. Most keyboards have an interesting film inside that may be used to create additional petals (figure H). Use scissors to cut them out and spacers with long screws and nuts to lift them off the main structure. This will give the flower a blooming, three-dimensional effect.
Use small rubber pads found under the keys, the keys themselves (figure I), resistors (figure J) and cables to decorate the petals. Drill holes and attach them with screws, nuts, washers and lock washers.
14. Attach the petals to the hubcap using longer screws. Starting from the back side of the petal, run the screw through to the back side of the hubcap and secure with washers, lock washers and nuts (figure K). Add a small picture hanger to one of the screws for added security, although the hubcap has a ridge on the back edge that will keep it in place.
Randi Lile sculpts this whimsical ceramic fish wall hanging.